Monday, 5 April 2021

From the Archives - Part 16 - Filling in the Gaps, 2000/2001

Who'd have thought it? When this series "ended" last March, I signed off with a plea for people to have a search for any club documents from the unrecorded years. (Or the Watson era as I always think of it!) Amazingly, someone actually did just that, and a (good) few months back, Mike Johnson dropped off a selection of club papers that I have now finally got around to sifting through. (Well, I don't know about you, but I've been very busy over the last year!)

The new stuff is all a bit random, so don't expect too much in the way of coherent history (as if you would!), but hopefully the new material will fill in the odd gap or two in the narrative of the club's development since its formation in 1975. Anyway, after weeding out the duplicate records, lets look at the fresh news that has emerged about the state of play for KCC just after the turn of the century.

May 2000 - the AGM is held on May 4th, with only 10 present - and no apologies. Bernard Rogers is Chairman and has to record the sad news that Joe Soesan had passed away, after playing for and supporting the club in a variety of ways for many years. He would be sorely missed. As would John Skinner, who had moved away from the area. More positively, "Mick" (possibly Mike Whatson?) and "Geoff" (Quilley, I guess)  had joined - as had (drum roll!!) "Paul Lam and his brother." who are "very talented". The minutes certainly got that right!

The Treasurer, Bruce Holland, reported a surplus for the year of £303.41, largely due to a £250 bequest from Joe. Assets now stood at £418.20, but despite this, subs are to go up to £10 for adults and £4 for juniors.

League performances had been distinctly average, with the A team 6th of 8 and the B team last. But the C team had won its division. Geoff King had reached the final of the League U-100 individual and Phil Wood had "won" the LDCL Lightning. Or at least that is what the minutes reported - but keep reading this article!

Bernard has had enough and announces he will stand down as Chairman. Officers for the 2000-01 season are elected as follows:-

Chairman: Geoff Quilley
Secretary: Ed Goodwin
Treasurer: Bruce Holland

With the loss of Joe, and with Ed's availability uncertain, the club decided to voluntarily relegate the A team from Division 1. The B team would play in Division 3 and and the C and D teams in Division 4.

Bruce told the meeting about the new "electric clocks" (sic), but no decision is made about any purchase. The £55 cost may well have been a factor. Or maybe it was another example of chess players' general antipathy towards new ideas! 

May 2001 - The AGM is held on May 3rd with 17 people present, including many familiar names. Geoff Quilley is in the Chair, and Bruce is Treasurer. P. Marsh (who he?) commits the cardinal sin of not sending apologies for absence and is named and shamed by the Secretary. We now learn that Phil won the U-125 section of the LDCL Lightning Tournament in 2000, not the whole competition! You just can't believe everything you read, it seems.

Bruce reported that the club had run up a deficit of £63.92 for the year, though we could still boast a healthy Building Society balance of £354.28. Subs were £10 pa, with £5 for the newly created category of Associate Member and £4 for juniors - plus a game fee of £0.29 per game, which would rise to £0.30 for the coming year. Major expenditure had been incurred on a Magnetic Display Board (£75) - where is it now?? - and a Lightning Buzzer (£24.95) - which is staring at me as I type this. But 12 new Garde clocks (£20 each) had been acquired at seemingly no expense to the club. A mystery benefactor it would appear!

In the 2000-01 season the B and C teams had each won their divisions in the LDCL, while the D team had come second. A veil seems to have been drawn over the A team's clearly disappointing performance. Congratulations to Paul Lam and Tony King for winning the League U-125 and U-100 individual tournaments, respectively.

In shock, gasp, horror news it emerges that Roy Watson may not be available to play in the 2001-02 season, while Simon Whatson is off to University and will also be missing. So the meeting decides to field two teams in Division 2 and two teams in Division 3. The poor b*****s who will run the teams are:-

A Phil Wood
B Geoff Quilley
C Chris Aldridge
D Tony King

Bruce stands down as Treasurer and Geoff King takes over, while Bernard becomes Secretary and Geoff Q continues as Chair.

The club wants to run a demonstration at the Carnival, but more significantly Bruce had been a prime mover in setting up a weekend congress (June 8-10) at the De Montfort Hotel (now the Holiday Inn). Intriguingly, 2 of those present at the AGM are amongst the corporate sponsors of the event! They must have put an x for no publicity, as no names are mentioned.

Technology gets its first ever AGM mention, with the meeting deciding that a club website should be established. Mark Lam - yes, you read that right! - indicates that he may be able to help with this. Hmmm. I'm going to keep an eye on this - assuming the subject ever gets mentioned again!

November 2001 - Geoff Quilley resigns as Chairman having moved to Leicester for work reasons, though he still hopes to make the occasional appearance for the B team. He is sad to be leaving as he has a "great affection for the Club and for the warm, kind and engaging people who are its members." Splendid words, which I hope would still be appropriate in our modern incarnation.

Well, that's filled in a couple of years, but Mike's pile of documents is far from exhausted, so I'll be back to continue this round-up in the near future. When we will jump forwards to 2003.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

KCC Online Grand Prix Round 6 - Batboy Flies High!

All change at the top of the GP leader-board after last week's 6th event (2 hours of 5 mins + 3 secs Blitz). Pre-tournament favourite - and GP leader - Jude Shearsby had a disastrous evening, limping across the line in 5th position to pick up a measly 10 GP points - his worst return in the series so far. School clearly doesn't agree with him! So my first place was enough to send me back into the GP lead, with a 12 point advantage over Jude.

After making the early running, and still leading as the clock passed 90 minutes (our normal playing session), Joshua eventually finished only third on the night, but remains unchallenged in the same position in the Grand Prix. He probably needs to win both remaining events to have any chance of fighting for first place. Though as he hasn't managed to win any of the previous six, you probably shouldn't bet your (or even his) house on that happening!

But I can already sense the puzzlement of all you Blog readers out there. If I won, with Joshua third and Jude only fifth, who on earth could have come second in April's event? Especially with Lionel once again absent? Remarkably, it was that club Colossus Bernard R, who turned in a performance for the ages - well for the year at least - to secure the runner-up spot on the podium, thanks to a last round 4 point win over Joshua that saw him grab the silver medal position by a single point! A massive GP personal best for Bernard, who started the series off in November by coming a dismal 9th, and had never finished higher than fifth in any previous event. Yet this result has somehow rocketed him up to fourth position in the GP standings!

So the circus moves on to May, when the pace of play will ratchet up several gears as we have a first Bullet event - though with a time control of 2 mins + 1 secs, Jude probably thinks this is way too slow. Relative oldsters like Ben, Bernard and Joshua were all enthusiastic advocates of a bullet event, and faced by such a powerful lobbying group, I had no choice but to let them have their way. But be careful what you wish for, is all I will say to them!